2012 started as a year full of expectations. To a certain extent it was different probably due to the prophecies and predictions coming from sources that go from the mystical to the economical. For some time now, there has been a feeling that things have to change, and for most, change has not come on their own accord, but from external pressure created by financial hardship.
Many of the things western culture has taught us to believe of as necessities, all of a sudden were not within our reach. With lack of work, family budgets were affected more than the national one where money can be printed. The ordeal of losing the house, living with relatives, and minding our grocery shopping became more and more a painful reality.
Yet, many of the things considered to be essential, people have found were not as important as they thought. Now, if the economy improves a little, will people go back to the same pattern of careless spending?
Due to difficult circumstances families had to turn off the cable, reduce their cell phone minutes, control how much energy was been used, mind the money spent on food, not only by eating out less but also by actually cooking more at home, spend less on new wardrobe and look for inexpensive entertainment.
Instead of turning to stuff, people were turning to people. There are more blended households now in US than 10 or 20 years ago. Intergenerational settings and young people returning to the parents’ home became something usual and with it a new set of relationships established, where there is mutual dependency and support. Not only the physical space is been shared, but also it is an opportunity to lean on each other’s strengths, collaborating and living together. It has not been easy. Its very hard to tackle the created image that make us believe that each one of us NEEDS our own car, TV set, appliances, house, etc, since we are facing a collective spirit of individualization that converted us from relational creatures to consumers and clients. What a terrible loss for humankind when the things and relations that surround us have to be bought.
Is there any chance that young people see any hope for their future, and instead of turning to drugs and false paradises, they can discover the simple pleasure of finding their place in a more accepting and less materialistic society?
Will the newfound ideas change back if there are more ‘work opportunities’ and money available? Things like growing part of your own food, consuming local products, driving less, enjoying the parks, cycling and walking with friends, eating home cooked meals at each others homes, sharing big and small appliances, spending time just talking, caring for each other’s children or elderly, all these constitute the true fabric of society where solid traditions are established and individuals can bank on stories created with love and care and not just with presents bought and wrapped at stores. Will all these be disregarded if more money is available?
There has to be a sensible balance between what one really needs and the fictitious needs created by selling you the idea that with the purchase of “ XX”, your life will be fulfilled. That is just as absurd as thinking of losing weight without changing eating and exercise habits, or many of the get more for less offers sent our way daily.
If having a ‘lot more’, means giving up relationships, time to think and be and the right to peaceful enjoyment of daily life, maybe its time to live with less and enjoy more!
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